Name: Jose de Acosta, Spanish missionary in South America

Date:  1500 - 1799

Location:  Europe , South America , Central America and the Caribbean

SubjectReligious , Political/Economic/Social Opinion , Racial/Ethnic

MediumPersonal Opinion , Print Journalism

Artist: Jose de Acosta

Confronting Bodies: Spanish Christian officials

Date of Action: 1576-1985

Specific Location: San Juan Island, Caribbean, South America and Spain

Description of Artwork: In his journal, Acosta criticized Spanish missionaries in South America and the Caribbean during the conquest in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Description of Incident: Acosta was a Jesuit missionary in South America and the Caribbean during the late 16th century. In his journal, which he presented to the king of Spain, Felipe II, Acosta described the horrific treatment inflicted upon native Americans by Spanish officials. His primary objections were the conditions that the missionaries condoned. Acosta wrote, "not only have we failed to bring them the news of Christ with sincerity and honest faith, but we have betrayed in our deeds what we professed in our words." Acosta also referred to the encomienda system, that turned Indians into slave laborers.

Results of Incident: Acosta's report was suppressed by a professor of theology at Colegio Romano and the head of the Jesuit order in Spain, Claudio Aquaviva. It was discovered in 1985 in the University of Salamanca and published by the Higher Council for Scientific Research.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones`

Submitted By: NCAC

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